Eswatini, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini and also known as Swaziland in English, is a landlocked country found in the southern parts of Africa. It is embedded between South Africa in the west and Mozambique in the east.
The country boasts diverse wildlife, such as lions, elephants, and hippos, living in the country’s two most popular game reserves, the Mlawula Nature Reserve and the Hlane Royal National Park.
Unlike other countries ruled by presidents, Eswatini is ruled by kings, currently headed by King Mswati III.
eSwatini is Africa’s last absolute monarchy and one of the few remaining in the world.
The king has supreme authority over all written laws, statutes, and customs.
The head of state is referred to as “Ingwenyama,” meaning ‘Lion,” and given respect in orders. He rules alongside his mother, Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala, whom people refer to as ‘Indlovukazi’, meaning “the Great She Elephant”.
The two, who theoretically have equal power, can keep each other in check.
Swaziland was called eSwatini
For facts, eSwatini was always the name for the kingdom that was always referred to as Swaziland since the colonial period.
In 2018, the kingdom underwent a big and double celebration, which saw them mark 50 years of independence as well as celebrate the 50th birthday of King Mswati III.
The same year, the country celebrated changing its name from Swaziland to eSwatini, which saw large crowds of people come out in celebrations.
The kingdom was however always known as eSwatini by its people, and the change was only needed for legal affirmation.
The big five
The country, as aforementioned, boasts of well preserved reserves like the Mlawula Nature Reserve and the Hlane Royal National Park, which have animals like the lion, elephants, hippopotamuses, rhinos, buffalos, and many more.
The Kingdom is also one of the few countries in the world that boasts having both black and white rhinos.
Longest reigning monarch
Sobhuza II is the longest reigning monarch in the world. Photo courtesy
The Kingdom has also had one of the longest reigning monarchs in the world.
King Sobhuza II, the present king’s father, King Mswati III, reigned from 1899 to 1982. Sobhuza spent 82 years and 223 days unshaken on the top seat.
Having taken the throne for those years, Sobhuza takes the lead in the list of monarchs who have reigned for the longest years.
Has two capital cities.
Most of the countries are known to have one official capital, which is recognized as the official seat of government in a state and is also the location of the country’s administrative center.
But Swaziland has two capital cities, namely Mbabane and Lobamba. Mbabane is the administrative capital, while Lobamba is the traditional capital.
Well, Mbabane is also the largest city, with a population of approximately 100,000 people. The city is also home to 14 foreign embassies and consulates.
Lobamba, on the other hand, has the lowest population, with approximately 12,000 people. It is recognized as the traditional, spiritual, and legislative capital of the state and acts as the seat of the Parliament.
Lucky enough, Lobamba is home to the royal family.
Youngest crowned monarch in the world
King Mswati III was crowned at the age of 18. Photo courtesy
The Kingdom also boasts of having the youngest crowned monarch in the world, the current head of state, King Mswati III.
King Mswati III’s coronation happened when he was only 18 years old, and he has continued to run the country pretty well.
Umhlanga Reed Dance
This is one of Swaziland’s major cultural events. It is an eight-day ceremony that allows young girls to cut reeds and present them to Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala, ostensibly to repair the windbreak around her royal residence, and then dance in celebration.
The event is graced by so many people, and over 40,000 girls take part. What makes the event spectacular in Africa is their brightly colored attire.
The main event actually begins on the sixth day. The groups of girls drop their reeds outside the Queen Mother’s quarters, then move to the main arena, where they dance and sing their songs.
They would dance until the seventh day, when the king is available. This is the main day that most visitors attend. Each regiment dances before him in turn.
On the eighth day, the king is expected to command maybe over 25 cattle to be slaughtered for the girls. They are then offered pieces of meat, and they walk back to their respective homes.
Largest population of nesting vultures
Swaziland’s Hlane Royal National Park is home to the largest population of nesting vultures in Africa.
The National Park is also the country’s largest protected area and extends either side of the MR3, making it impossible to get a better view of the wildlife even while driving on the highway.
The parks also hold different camps, which makes it easier for the royal hunt called Butimba to happen.
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The kings of Swaziland are polygamous. For instance, the current king, King Mswati III, has over 15 wives and multiple kids.
King Mswati III’s father, Sobhuza II, had over 70 children and multiple grandchildren. This created a huge number of princes and princesses.
Members of the royal family can easily be spotted as they are entitled to wear red feathers in their hair.
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